Gifts on Valentine’s Day: If anything, don’t leave the left side of the card blank

Extra thoughtfulness can be just what your significant other wants on Valentine’s Day. Here’s ways you can incorporate that into your gift this year! Illustration by Steven Coleman/The Daily Campus

There is nothing wrong with a classic Valentine’s Day assortment of a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses and maybe a stuffed animal with some cheesy declaration of love embroidered on it. We as a society have come to associate Feb. 14 with such gifts and other red and pink-wrapped displays of affection as much as we do with romance (thank you capitalism). While I get excited for holiday-themed candy as much as the next person, I’ve always acknowledged extra thoughtfulness put into a present, which in turn made them my most treasured and memorable ones.

First and foremost, if you’re going to include a card, make it yourself. There is nothing that kills a great present more than opening a store-bought card that is mostly blank aside from the date, the greeting and a measly “from, your name” signed at the end. If you’re gonna go that route, the left side of the card is likely completely empty, leaving more than enough space to write a thoughtful message. Besides, if you’re paying at least five dollars for a piece of cardstock, make it worth it. 

On the topic of making things yourself, you’re not limited to cards — a drawing, a poem, a song, a love letter, make them a crossword puzzle if they’re into that. You like painting? Make your Valentine a portrait of their beloved childhood pet. Does your mom love coffee and you take pottery classes on the weekend? Spin together a mug that she will cherish with every caffeinated sip. 

Personally, I’m a fan of curating my space with decorations that have meaning, so whenever I receive an illustration or some other hand-made gift from a friend, I’ll display it somewhere or proudly use it all the time just to say, “Yeah, my really cool friend made this.”

Let’s move on to flowers (avoid if your Valentine is allergic). If your Valentine’s favorite flowers happen to be roses, it’s likely you won’t have trouble finding them at most large stores. If not, curating a bouquet is a spin-off to the classic floral bundle. Get them their favorite flowers — maybe ones that are their favorite colors — or make an arrangement out of the flowers of their birth month; you could even pick them yourself and make a wildflower bouquet. Then, put them in a vase and trim the leaves and stems, unless you know the individual you are gifting it to would prefer to do this themselves. Large mason jars work perfectly if you have them laying around, and if not, finding a unique vase at a thrift store that doubles as a present is thoughtful and is more sustainable. 

Experiences and activities also make for memorable gifts. A quintessential Valentine’s Day dinner is something that I quite enjoy and look forward to; in my case, I don’t dress up very often during the school year, and Valentine’s Day dinner gives me the opportunity to wear a fancy dress and have a more formal dinner compared to most evenings. That in itself is an experience I enjoy: going out to eat a delicious meal with someone I cherish, knowing that there are plenty of others who enjoy the same. Making a home-cooked dinner is just as romantic and enjoyable — add flowers and candles and you are just about on-par with every formal restaurant that evening. 

The activity doesn’t need to be on Valentine’s Day either, and it also doesn’t have to be dinner-related. Planning something for the future is something that you and your significant other can look forward to and can be significantly less stressful, especially if both parties have busy schedules during the week. Make plans to see a favorite artist or band, take a cooking class together, go stargazing, prepare a weekend picnic in a place with beautiful scenery; there are many options to choose from, enough to find something that you and your Valentine can both enjoy together.

And if actively going somewhere is not the most viable option, a physical gift can double as an experience as well. LEGO has recently come out with sets designed with “grown-ups” in mind which could be a fun long-term — or short-term, presuming you have impeccable LEGO skills and dedication — project with your partner that also acts as a memorable keepsake. Seeing as there are set options to build succulents, an orchid and wildflowers, this selection can also double as Valentine’s flowers that will last much longer, though it does come with a heftier price-tag than that of a living bouquet. 

Other options include puzzles (pick one you can frame after!), paint-by-number sets or even card games; a popular one for Valentine’s Day is the “We’re Not Really Strangers” card set that claims to deepen relationships through a series of questions. 

At the end of the day, gifts are not indicative of how much you love or care for someone, and Valentine’s Day isn’t the only day that we show each other that we care (at least I would assume). Regardless, it’s still a day that highlights the important people in our lives and serves as a reminder to show our appreciation for them. 

If you decide to partake in Feb. 14 festivities and get someone a gift, no matter how grand or simple the gesture may be, so long as it comes from a place of gratitude and the other person in mind, it is sure to be appreciated. So if you do buy a box of chocolates, get their favorite — not yours — and if you buy a card from Hallmark, don’t leave the left side completely blank — write something thoughtful.

The best Valentine’s Day gifts — whether it’s for a significant other, family or friends — come from a genuine place, making them special simply because they had you in mind. 


  1. I think I’m not the only one who can’t wait to celebrate Father’s Day. So I want to show my dad how much he means to me. I was browsing the internet and came across fathers day gift baskets, which are packed with a number of goodies, such as wine, cheese and crackers. I’m sure my dad will appreciate this thoughtful gesture and enjoy the treat inside the gift!

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